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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: March 2006
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Hot Jupiters do not rule out alien Earths Mar 31, 2006
Life waxes and wanes with bobbing of the Solar System Mar 31, 2006
Heat-loving bug find in Antarctic Mar 30, 2006
NASA releases new maps of Jupiter Mar 30, 2006
Moonlets hint at Saturn's violent past Mar 30, 2006
Your secrets are safe with quasar encryption Mar 29, 2006
NASA restarts once-dead Dawn asteroid mission Mar 28, 2006
Cannibal stars like their food hot, XMM-Newton reveals Mar 27, 2006
Fire caused SpaceX rocket failure Mar 27, 2006
Bright future for Sun's twin Mar 27, 2006
Very cool brown dwarf discovered near the Sun Mar 26, 2006
Revolutionary jet engine tested Mar 25, 2006
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sends first snaps home Mar 25, 2006
SpaceX rocket fails first flight Mar 25, 2006
Tiny tunnels in Mars rock hint at possibility of life Mar 24, 2006
Clandestine comets found in main asteroid belt Mar 24, 2006
'Sterile' neutrinos may solve cosmic conundrums Mar 24, 2006
NASA's Space Technology 5 satellites soar into space Mar 23, 2006
Methane-making microbes appeared early on Earth Mar 23, 2006
Stardust Part II: Deep Impact comet revisited? Mar 22, 2006
Human spaceflight goes commercial Mar 22, 2006
Space impact clue in Antarctica Mar 22, 2006
Station crew gets away for short trip in Soyuz capsule Mar 21, 2006
Probe yields Earth defence clues Mar 20, 2006
Front wheel on Mars rover stop Mar 20, 2006
Astronomers discover a river of stars streaming across the northern sky Mar 20, 2006
Earth could seed Titan with life Mar 19, 2006
Ice layers record comet creation Mar 17, 2006
Best ever map of the early universe revealed Mar 17, 2006
Doubt cast on Venus catastrophe Mar 17, 2006
Mystery of Saturn's vanishing 'spokes' illuminated Mar 17, 2006
Big new reservoir of water ice suspected under Mars Mar 16, 2006
Double helix nebula revealed near Milky Way's heart Mar 16, 2006
Brown dwarfs weighed directly for first time Mar 16, 2006
Solar riches survive probe crash Mar 15, 2006
Supercomputer builds a virus Mar 15, 2006
NASA delays space shuttle launch Mar 15, 2006
'Naked super-Earth' revealed by microlensing Mar 14, 2006
NASA and Google bring Mars to PCs everywhere Mar 14, 2006
Comets 'are born of fire and ice' Mar 14, 2006
Black holes: The ultimate quantum computers? Mar 13, 2006
Sun storms could bring power cuts Mar 12, 2006
Fourth flight for biggest Ariane Mar 12, 2006
Pluto's moons share a family resemblance Mar 11, 2006
Mars orbiter reaches Red Planet Mar 11, 2006
Three cosmic enigmas, one audacious answer Mar 11, 2006
NASA's Cassini discovers potential liquid water on Enceladus Mar 10, 2006
Cosmic 'eel' preys on spiral galaxy Mar 9, 2006
Record Set for Hottest Temperature on Earth: 3.6 Billion Degrees in Lab Mar 9, 2006
Wind tunnel tests for space shuttle successor Mar 8, 2006
Contact with troubled Hayabusa probe restored Mar 8, 2006
Divers discover new crustacean Mar 8, 2006
Spaceplane shelved? Mar 7, 2006
Jupiter opens a second red eye Mar 7, 2006
Huge impact crater found in Egypt Mar 6, 2006
A shocking surprise in Stephan's Quintet Mar 6, 2006
NASA kills off troubled asteroid mission Mar 5, 2006
New model tackles Titan's methane Mar 3, 2006
Pulse reveals beating heart of a supervolcano Mar 2, 2006
New asteroid at top of Earth-threat list Mar 1, 2006
Hubble pictures Pinwheel Galaxy in all its glorye Mar 1, 2006


A hot Jupiter exoplanet, artist's impression
Hot Jupiters do not rule out alien Earths
(Mar 31, 2006)


Habitable, Earth-like planets can form even after giant planets have barrelled through their birthplace on epic migrations towards their host stars, new computer simulations suggest. The finding contradicts early ideas of how planets behave and suggests future space missions should search for terrestrial planets near known "hot Jupiters".

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Milky Way Galaxy, artist's impression
Life waxes and wanes with bobbing of the Solar System
(Mar 31, 2006)


The solar system's up-and-down motion across our galaxy's disc periodically exposes it to higher doses of dangerous cosmic rays, new calculations suggest. The effect could explain a mysterious dip in the Earth's biodiversity every 62 million years. The solar system moves through the Milky Way rather like a child on a merry-go-round. It completes a circuit of the galaxy once every 100 million years or so but as it goes it bobs up and down through the dense galactic disc. Previous research had suggested this motion might affect Earth's climate as the solar system passes through the giant hydrogen clouds concentrated in the galaxy's spiral arms.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Vostok Station
Heat-loving bug find in Antarctic
(Mar 30, 2006)


Researchers have found traces of a heat-loving bacterium that may live beneath a frozen lake in Antarctica. Lake Vostok is covered by more than 3km of ice and must have been isolated from our planet's atmosphere for millions of years. The bacteria appeared in sediment mixed with a core of ice drilled by Russian and French researchers. The heat-loving, or thermophilic, bacterium may suggest that hydrothermal vents exist on the lake floor.

Read more. Source: BBC

High-resolution map of Jupiter
NASA releases new maps of Jupiter
(Mar 30, 2006)


The US space agency has released the most detailed colour maps of the planet Jupiter ever produced. The stunning maps were pieced together by researchers from images taken by the Cassini spacecraft as it approached Jupiter on 11 and 12 December 2000. Raw images exist in only two colours so the maps were coloured to show how Jupiter would appear to the naked eye. They consist of one cylindrical map of the planet along with north and south polar maps of Jupiter.

Read more. Source: BBC

Propeller-shaped features in Saturn's A-ring
Moonlets hint at Saturn's violent past
(Mar 30, 2006)


The propeller-shaped footprints of four tiny moonlets have been detected in Saturn's rings – adding weight to a theory that the rings formed when a larger moon exploded. The moonlets are no more than about 100 metres across, which makes them the first known objects of intermediate size to be found in the rings. They fall between ordinary ice-balls of up to 10 metres and a handful of more substantial moons a few kilometres across. The telltale patterns appear in old images taken by the Cassini spacecraft when it entered orbit around Saturn in July 2004.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

quasar
Your secrets are safe with quasar encryption
(Mar 29, 2006)


Intergalactic radio signals from quasars could emerge as an exotic but effective new tool for securing terrestrial communications against eavesdropping. Japanese scientists have come up with a method for encrypting messages using the distant astronomical objects, which emit radio waves and are thought to be powered by black holes. Ken Umeno and colleagues at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo propose using the powerful radio signals emitted by quasars to lock and unlock digital communications in a secure fashion.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Dawn spacecraft. Credit: NASA
NASA restarts once-dead Dawn asteroid mission
(Mar 28, 2006)


Less than a month after falling victim to budget and technical concerns, the Dawn asteroid explorer was brought back from the grave Monday by a decision to restore funding to the mission and launch the probe by next summer. NASA announced the reinstatement, a complete reversal of the decision three weeks ago to kill the mission, after an appeal from project officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The objections prompted yet another review of Dawn, which had undergone a series of investigations since October that assessed the state of the mission after various problems and cost overruns came to light.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now

A hot gas cloud whirling around a miniature 'cannibal' star. Credit: ESA
Cannibal stars like their food hot, XMM-Newton reveals
(Mar 27, 2006)


ESA’s XMM-Newton has seen vast clouds of superheated gas, whirling around miniature stars and escaping from being devoured by the stars’ enormous gravitational fields – giving a new insight into the eating habits of the galaxy’s ‘cannibal’ stars. The clouds of gas range in size from a few hundred thousand kilometres to a few million kilometres, ten to one hundred times larger than the Earth.

Read more. Source: ESA

Falcon 1 fire
Fire caused SpaceX rocket failure
(Mar 27, 2006)


A fire fed by a fuel leak caused the failure of a commercial rocket seconds into its maiden launch, the company that built it has confirmed. SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket was lost during lift-off from an island in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. It was carrying a US Air Force Academy research satellite onboard.

Read more. Source: BBC

HD 98618
Bright future for Sun's twin
(Mar 27, 2006)


It looks like a home away from home. Astronomers trawling through a catalogue of known stars have found one that is nearly identical to our Sun, and they say it's an ideal place to start looking for small blue-green planets that could host alien life. The solar twin, called HD 98618, lies about 126 light years from Earth, and is bright enough to be seen from the Northern Hemisphere using binoculars.

Read more. Source: Nature

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